A club which was good domestically in Spain and had some of the best players but the Holy Grail eluded them till they became champions of Europe.
So the Champions League offers salvation for Zidane, but it's nearly certainly win or bust for the Real legend.
Real Madrid have the highest pass accuracy of any side in the Champions League this season, Los Blancos have completed 89.6 percent of their passes. Past year they went toe-to-toe against Barcelona and dominated them in a Champions League game at the same stage.
However, it's trophies that eventually matter and PSG need to win the Champions League to get that extra bit that puts them on a pedestal.
It would also be interesting to see how Real Madrid would tackle his pace and skills in the left wing with Carvajal being out of the first leg.
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It was tough to envision Zidane being in such a position when Madrid cantered to a third Champions League triumph in four seasons, becoming the first team to successfully defend the title in its current guise, with a 4-1 win over Juventus in the final in Cardiff last June.
"We have learnt a lot". He is one of those players that is irreplaceable - and I am sure that Tottenham will be doing all they can to make sure he stays. The Portuguese has 43 goals in his last 43 appearances in the knockout phase.
It is impossible not to also see this tie as a confrontation between the global superstars on each side in Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
That was after he gave an interview to Brazilian television saying that his worldwide colleague would one day play for the Spanish giants. "He handles the pressure and responds on the field", he said.
Paris Saint-Germain's Angel Di Maria said that he would have no problem playing for Barcelona if the opportunity presents itself despite having already played for Real Madrid in the past.
Neymar has since averaged a goal a game in a PSG shirt, including scoring six times in the group stage of the Champions League. For Real, Nacho should replace the banned Dani Caravajal at right-back.
Madrid host PSG in the first leg on Wednesday and Ronaldo said: "We are going to play against a great team with excellent players, which we respect very much".